NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Wednesday, October 28, 2015, 9:30 PM
Ashley Eckstein says Ahsoka Tano “still has her attitude, the snippiness didn’t go away” in “Star Wars Rebels.”
When we left Ahsoka Tano in “The Clone Wars,” she was but the learner.
Actress Ashley Eckstein — who has returned to the role in “Star Wars Rebels” — has highlighted that the former Jedi is a very different character from the teenage Padawan we saw growing up as Anakin Skywalker’s apprentice in the Old Republic’s final years.
“Ahsoka’s obviously grown up quite a bit since ‘Clone Wars,'” Eckstein tells the Daily News. “She’s been through a lot, so she’s a lot more serious. She’s been on her own, so she’s very internal.”
Fans were re-introduced to the much-loved Ahsoka in the final episode of the first season of “Rebels,” when she revealed that she has been feeding them intelligence under the alias “Fulcrum.” Eckstein notes that we’ll still see echoes of the character’s old persona, especially in her interactions with Padawan Ezra Bridger (Taylor Gray).
“She’s still Ahsoka; she still has her attitude, the snippiness didn’t go away,” she says, before highlighting the effect of her brief encounter with Darth Vader, her fallen former master, through the Force in the Season 2 premiere.
“She has questions, she wants to know who this mysterious Sith Lord is and so she’s just become very, very serious and grown up.”
The actress, who was born in Louisville, Ky., and grew up in Orlando, Fla., doesn’t believe Ahsoka has figured out that Anakin has fallen to the dark side.
“No one wants to believe something so tragic, I think, in her mind, she denies it and says ‘There’s no way, there’s no way, no, it’s not.’ So, in my opinion she doesn’t know because she can’t even comprehend that that could be Anakin.”
Eckstein notes that she’s taken a very different approach to playing the character, but admits the transition to the adult Ahsoka hasn’t always been easy after playing her as a teenager in five seasons of “The Clone Wars.”
The actress notes that she’s occasionally slipped back into the “Clone Wars” version of Ahsoka while recording her lines for “Rebels.”
“Ahsoka in ‘Clone Wars’ was like Ezra; she was the snippy student and I was actually very used to portraying that version. So, in ‘Rebels,’ oftentimes I’ll have to a couple more takes because Dave (Filoni, the show’s executive producer) will say ‘No, that’s too sweet, that’s too cute’
“She’s very guarded, she’s just been on her own and she just likes to sit back to observe this season.”
As a result of this change, Eckstein has shifted her approach to playing the role by trying to channel Jedi Masters Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda. Despite this, she doesn’t think Ahsoka will be replacing Kanan Jarrus (Freddie Prinze Jr.) as Ezra’s master.
“Many people, I think, are thinking ‘Oh, okay, well now that Ahsoka’s back, maybe Ahsoka and Ezra will be like Anakin and Ahsoka,'” she says. “That’s not the case; nothing will replace what Kanan and Ezra have. That’s like what Anakin and Ahsoka had.”
Eckstein also showed her entrepreneurial side when she founded “Her Universe,” which offers fashion merchandise for female sci-fans, in 2009. The label has since expanded to offer Marvel, “Doctor Who,” “Transformers” and “Star Trek” items.
“My goal with Her Universe and young girls and fandom has always come from a very organic place because I am that fangirl,” says Eckstein. “I am surrounded by legions of fangirls who love ‘Star Wars’ just like the boys do.”
She notes that inclusion and equality have always been at the heart of the business endeavor.
“We’re not just trying to say that ‘Star Wars’ is just for girls, we’re not trying to say it’s just for boys; it transcends gender, it’s universal.”
“I am surrounded by legions of fangirls who love ‘Star Wars’ just like the boys do.” The fashion label “Her Universe,” which Eckstein founded in 2009, caters for female sci-fi fans.
Eckstein credits Filoni and his team with adding greater gender balance to the ever-expanding sci-fi universe.
“There are characters for everyone now and I think we’ve come a long way since ‘Clone Wars’ began (in 2008) to now,” she says.
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